How to Teach Cutting (With FREE Guide)

As a gift to our friends who subscribe to our blog, a FREE how-to-use scissors guide is provided at the bottom of this post! Thanks for reading, commenting, and SHARING.

Children need to be proficient in scissors use in order to participate in school and leisure activities. The strong emphasis on hands-on learning is a wonderful thing in the classroom, however, when a child is weak in scissors use, he/she may become frustrated and lag behind the class during center times. Children with special needs often have difficulty not only with the task of scissoring but also with the basic skills required prior to picking up a pair of scissors. It’s important to step back and take a look at teaching a child how to hold scissors properly, develop strength of the hand muscles, cross mid-line, and more. READ on for help and ideas to help your child today!

Here are some ‘Out of the POCKET’ ideas:

  • Begin by working with your child on the concept of opening/releasing. The use of tongs to squeeze and release items of various sizes is an excellent practice. You can use regular tongs or order ones of all shapes and sizes from therapy catalogs. Click here to read my earlier post about tweezers/tongs and fun activities for kids.
  • Turkey basters or small droppers are fun ways to encourage squeeze and release. Color the water with food coloring for more fun. As a homeschooler, I love using a few glasses of water in primary colors and seeing what new colors my boys make by mixing them. They don’t even realize they’re building brain AND fine motor skills!
  • Use hole punchers of all shapes and sizes. I can find cool punchers at craft stores, dollar stores, and on Amazon. (Here are some I found using my Amazon affiliate link.)

When your children use both hands together to complete a task, it’s called “bilateral integration.” Here’s an earlier post to help kids to use both hands. Scissoring is a skill where one hand holds the tool and the other is responsible for moving the paper in different directions. Children need to learn how to use their hands together for many things including buttoning, tying, using a knife to cut food, and handwriting (one hand holds paper while the other writes).

It’s now time to work with actual scissors. Make sure that kids are holding their scissors correctly now to prevent bad habits from forming. Place the thumb into the round hole and use wording such as, “thumbs up” to help them to remember which way their hand should be placed. If your child is a visual learner, draw a smile on her thumb or place a sticker on the thumbnail.

Thousands of ideas in one book!

Begin by snipping to practice opening and closing the scissors.

  • Ask kids to cut across narrow strips of paper or straws so that the cut is a “success.” It’s fun to cut straws and watch them fly across the table! 
  • Try a craft such as cutting strips of paper and fastening them together to make a paper chain.
  • Cutting grass and items in nature such as dandelions or leaves off of trees is not only fun but gets kids outside.
  • Children should cut straight and then curvy lines. Progress to shapes with thick lines. It takes time to build up those hand muscles and just like everything else we do, practice is so important.
  • Give lots of encouragement and support.
Note: If your child is left-handed, please purchase the correct scissors for left-handed kids. Tasks are easier when using the proper tools. Encourage the school to provide him with the scissors or purchase them on your own and make sure they stay in his pencil box for center time.

Here’s the FREE scissors use handout I promised.

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